Researchers found that doing a mix of light housework and more physically demanding chores gets the cogs in prime condition. And those who regularly get stuck into tougher tasks like changing bedding or scrubbing the floor reduce their risk of falls, have better balance and coordination.
The experts judged light chores to include dusting, making the bed, putting the wash on and hanging it out, tidying, cooking and washing up.
Heavy duties could be cleaning windows, beating a rug, vacuuming, or DIY such as sawing or painting.
They found that domestic tasks are more beneficial to older people than younger ages.
Their study, published in the journal BMJ Open, examined data on almost 500 residents in Singapore aged 21 and 90 who live independently and do daily chores.
They were quizzed about the intensity and frequency of those as well as other physical activities.
Mental agility was assessed with tests designed to check memory, language and attention span.
Sit-to-stand speed ‑ a sign of the risk of falls ‑ and how fast participants walk were also measured.
Older adults who did more heavy housework scored 14 percent higher for attention span. And those who regularly performed light tasks did better on memory tests.
The Singapore researchers said: “Housework may complement recreational physical activity [to help] healthier ageing.”